Silk Central Review

A powerful platform and strong technical support help us to make the right decisions


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for running tests and reporting the results of those tests. We have a lot of customized tests, and download more than twenty thousand reports per year.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution adds value because we are able to get the right information at the right time, which helps us to make the right decisions. We have more than one hundred and sixty users each day, and we manage more than one hundred projects. This results in a large volume of data that we can collect in real time.

This enables us to determine the status and risk of critical items, and supply this information to management. From there, each point is considered and decisions are made with respect to how to proceed in production. For example, testing may be halted or restarted depending on results contained within the reports. It adds real value for project management.

Before using this tool, we had many different Excel templates and used email to keep track of defects. This was very chaotic. The impact of adopting this product was very large.

What is most valuable?

The most important feature is the ability to customize it. Our company has many different needs, and creating a standard requires direct access to the database. It is very strong in this sense, with good performance.

What needs improvement?

We are primarily interested in improving the flexibility to customize parts of the tool. At this point, we feel that the customization is bad. For example, we would like to be able to automatize internal projects. We would like like to see the visibility improved, and want to perform certain tests faster.

We would also like to manage the integration testing end-to-end. This is very important to us.

In terms of usability and the interface, a few small improvements can lead to a lot of benefits. The interface is good but can be improved.

The section on managing requirements for testing has to be improved. This is an old feature that has not been updated at the same rate as the rest of the tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is very good. In our experience it is approximately ninety-nine percent. Also, in terms of performance for the user, it is absolutely good with no problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We currently have a lot of licenses for this product. We manage many projects every month that results in a large volume of data.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is a very strong point for this tool. We have local support, here in Italy, and we speak directly to the project manager and the project owner. These calls happen monthly, and sometimes weekly.

We have an open channel with Micro Focus to discuss the features and improvements that we would like to see in new versions of the software.

Overall, it is very good support.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

Originally, we did not use an automated tool. The process involved recording data in Excel worksheets and the reports were typed up in Microsoft Word.

When we made the transition to automated testing, we started with the Compuware testing tool. This was a predecessor to Silk Central, as it was acquired by Micro Focus and combined with other tools that were integrated into the current product. This resulted in a lot of benefits for us through additional functionality in the platform.

How was the initial setup?

The installation and setup is not easy. You need to identify how the tool can be best used for your needs, and to share the best practices with all of the users. We hired the vendor, Micro Focus, to help us with the setup and configuration.

What about the implementation team?

During our implementation we hired Micro Focus to assist us. They were very good, and helped us to set the tool up so that we could make the best use of it. We started with six months of support, initially.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost of this tool, in terms of licensing, is not large. Access to the technical support provides for good value because you enjoy the benefits of a company supporting you.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When it comes to selecting a vendor, the number one requirement is that they be able to provide the right support that we need to address our problem. The best vendor is able to best handle the needs of the market. We found this in Compuware.

We did not evaluate products other than Compuware, and this was eventually incorporated into Silk Central.

We did consider using the IBM Jazz Suite because we were using it for LAN application management. However, we felt that it was too complex and the learning curve was too great. There was no comparison in terms of usability. Therefore, we did not select it to use for automated testing.

What other advice do I have?

I certainly recommend the use of this solution. You can start using it quickly, and we have found that the software is easy to learn. The tool offers many ways to get the same information, so in the beginning some users are unsure. However, for the basic user, such as a tester, it is very simple and direct.

We know that there are open source tools in the market that offer the same level of functionality, but open source means that you need to invest more in support. The community is good, but in our experience it is not the same as a good vendor.

I would rate this solution eight out of ten.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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